Are you planning a trip to Nepal and want to know the best places to see in this beautiful country? Here is the ultime guide to the best places to visit in Nepal!
Nepal is located in South Asia (one of my favorite parts of the world!), sandwiched between India and China.
Nepal is where Siddhārtha Gautama – Buddha – was born, but Hinduism is the predominant religion in the country. The highest elevation in Nepal is Mount Everest, which is also the world’s tallest mountain.
Despite being such a small country, Nepal has a lot to offer its visitors. Its culture, temples, food, and vibes will make you truly miss this country once you leave!
So, what are the best places to visit in Nepal?
Kathmandu is the capital and despite the great amount of damage from the earthquake, is a must-see destination if you are traveling to Nepal. There are a lot of sights to visit within the city itself, such as the Golden Temple and the Buddhist temple Swayambhunath. The city can sometimes be chaotic, but this is also what makes it so special. Kathmandu is full of people, street markets where you can buy anything you need, smells, and sounds.
Kathmandu has fascinated me since my first night in Nepal. It’s a fun place, it’s a hippy place, it’s a city you can’t miss!
Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to visit Lumbini, as I spent most of my days in Nepal at a meditation retreat at the Kopan Monastery, but Lumbini is a must-see in Nepal. It is definitely one of the most historically important cities in the country, home to the birthplace of Buddha – Siddhartha Gautama.
You can enjoy Lumbini’s monasteries while relaxing in the peacefulness of the area. This city is an extremely significant destination for Buddhist pilgrims from around the world, but at the same time, the area around Lumbini is mostly Muslim.
Pokhara was actually the city where I enjoyed myself the most. The city is known as a popular spot for adventures and extreme sports like paragliding, bungee jumping, and much more…
In addition, Pokhara is the perfect place for trekking. Trekking is actually the main reason why people visit Pokhara.
But if you are not into adventure sports, do not worry. This city has a wide range of cultural activities, pagodas, markets, and restaurants where you can try Nepalese food.
Patan, also known as Lalitpur, is practically a suburb of Kathmandu. Its main attraction is Durbar Square, where temples and palaces line the streets.
The city is generally chaotic during the day but becomes quiet at night when tourists return to Kathmandu.
Bhaktapur is the smallest district of Nepal. The city is also known as Khwopa or Bhadgaon. Bhaktapur is rich in cultural heritage and ancient art.
Bhaktapur comprises monuments, temples and traditional houses. Ancient tradition and culture are still well preserved and they are reflected in the daily activities of the locals.
This city is one of the main tourist destinations of the Kathmandu Valley and used to be the center of Nepal until the 17th century.
Some of its major tourist attractions have been listed as UNESCO world heritage sites.
Foreigners have to pay an entrance fee to visit the town which offers its visitors the unique opportunity to observe the ancient art, culture, and architecture of the Malla period.
Some of the major attractions that tourists absolutely can’t miss are: Bhaktapur Durban Square, the 55-window palace, Sidda Pokhari, and the Nyatapole Temple.
What I strongly recommend is to plan your trip a little in advance, especially if you are traveling on a budget and will get around by bus. Roads are not paved and traveling by bus will take…HOURS! I traveled by bus from Kathmandu to Pokhara and it took me 8 hours – the distance between the two cities is 200 km/124 miles -. Buses in Nepal are incredibly cheap (and often quite uncomfortable), with many companies offering the same services and providing transportation basically anywhere in the country. Nepalese buses can be divided into two main categories: local buses and tourist buses.
Pros of Local Buses:
- Allow you to experience the local culture
- Perfect choice for a short ride
- They also operate at night
Cons of Local Buses:
- No AC
- Traveling by bus at night in Nepal is really dangerous
Pros of Tourist Buses:
- Cheap (but not as cheap as local buses)
- Faster than local buses
- Safer than local buses
- They make multiple stops
- Many different companies offer the same service, just pick the one you prefer
Cons of Tourist Buses:
- More expensive than local buses
- They only depart in the morning (if you are traveling from Pokhara to Kathmandu it will take at least 8 hours; this means you will “waste” an entire day)
Do you want to know more about the best places to visit in Nepal? Check out this blog